Cynthia Stokes Brown directed the secondary teaching credential program in the Education department at Dominican University from 1982 to 1992. She also taught full time in the History and Education departments until 2001. After joining the ranks of Dominican emeriti in 2001, Cynthia taught part time, establishing the first course in Big History within the Colloquium offerings and in 2009 helped to develop the University’s First Year Experience Big History program. She was the University’s resident “Big Historian” and a founding board member of the International Big History Association. Her 2007 bestselling book, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present was translated into nine languages and she co-authored the textbook, Big History: Between Nothing and Everything (2014).

While at Dominican University, Cynthia’s research focused on oral history, civil rights, and activist, Septima Clark. She published several books including, Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement (1986), which won an American Book Award in 1987, Like It Was: A Complete Guide to Writing Oral History (1988), and Refusing Racism: White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights (2002).

Months before her death in the summer of 2017, Cynthia self-published her travel journals and photographic slides entitled, A Romance in High Places: Five Wilderness Treks detailing her mountain climbing adventures with her husband, Jack Robbins from 1987 through 1997. The pair hiked to the K2 base camp, the North Slope of Alaska to Demarcation Bay on the Arctic Ocean, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Khan Tengri, and the Annapurna Massif. The published volume as well as the original journals are included in the Cynthia Stokes Brown personal papers.

Upon her death in October 2017, donations in her honor funded the processing of the oral histories and her personal papers, which include her research and manuscripts, family correspondence, course syllabi, and photographs. Once the processing is completed, selected records and photographs will also be made available online through Dominican Scholar.

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Cynthia Stokes Brown | Oral Histories